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Nauru MPs seek to crowd-fund legal costs

Thursday 14 April 2016 | Published in Regional

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NAURU – Five suspended MPs in Nauru are seeking international financial help with their legal representation.

The MPs have been suspended for nearly two years and three of them are facing charges over a protest outside parliament in June last year.

The other two have had their passports seized, but no charges have been laid.

The Nauru government has hampered the MPs’ efforts to bring in lawyers from Australia, including recently setting visa charges of US$4500 dollars.

One of the suspended MPs, Sprent Dabwido, says they want to bring in five or six lawyers.

“So you can see that is a huge cost for us especially when we haven’t been paid for two years.

“And also we have to pay for the airfares and also we have to pay for the accommodation when they are here. So for six lawyers to come here and represent us for the four or five months we think the case will go on for, it is going to be a very expensive venture.”

Dabwido says the lawyers are providing their legal services free of charge. The MPs have launched a campaign to raise the other money required on the GoFundMe website.

Access to Nauru is heavily restricted, with media representatives required to pay US$5000 as a non-refundable visa application fee.

New Zealand as well as Australian citizens also need a local sponsor, who risks jail if visa conditions are breached.

- RNZI